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Business Culture in Turkey

There are some points that are good to keep in mind when it comes to business in Turkey. The following bullet points are however our personal experience so there can of course be exceptions.

 -Business culture in Turkey is very similar to the rest of the countries around the Mediterranean. It is important to build a relationship with customers; this creates confidence and trust between seller and customer. In Turkey you are very true to your clients, as well as customers rarely change the product if he or she has a good relationship to the seller company and the product serves its purpose.

 -Do not use deadlines or high pressure tactics during business negotiations with your Turkish colleagues as they will be counterproductive. Be patient during negotiations as decision making can be slow.

 -When doing business with Turkish companies you should try to negotiate with the highest ranked person in line of many reasons, one of them being that the process will be faster and the negotiations will not be prolonged by having to pass responsibility on to higher rank that can take the decision. The other reason of talking to the highest person in rank is that you only need to bargain with one person. However, often Turkish companies say they do not like to do bargaining, but they will do it anyway, so never give your best price at once. Therefore, the further down in the company's management you start, the more you have to raise/lower your price, because there is a prestige to have brought up/down the price, and all the people you are negotiating with, until you reach the decision-maker, who will also negotiate price, there is a risk that you have gone further away from your original price.

 -It could be beneficial to talk about football to break the ice. Turks usually support one of these following teams, Fenerbahce, Besiktas or Galatasaray. Mentioning positive views on Turkey, especially its food and culture, is something you should definitely do as it goes down extremely well with the Turkish people. 

 -Turkey is a secular country, but there are still about 99% Muslims and the religion has a certain impact on everyday life. It is important to keep track of festivals and holidays but other than that religion has no big impact in the sales process.

 -Turks do not require as much personal space as many other cultures and it may be construed as unfriendly if you back away when Turkish colleagues stand close during a conversation.

 -Don’t offer gifts that are too lavish or personal and be sure to check that your Turkish counterparts drink before offering alcohol. The exchanging of gifts is not a predominant feature of Turkish business culture. However, if a gift is given to you it will be gratefully accepted.

-Maintain eye contact with your Turkish counterparts whilst speaking, as Turks take this as a sign of sincerity. 

 -Dress conservatively while doing business. You will be expected to wear a suit and tie. Women should avoid short skirts, low-cut blouses or shorts.